49 Jail’s 5-star diet dis­grace

Sunday Herald Sun - - OPINION -

VIC­TO­RIA’S youth prisons are meant to be a de­ter­rent from com­mit­ting crime. They are set up to keep dan­ger­ous of­fend­ers from the pub­lic and to pun­ish them so they do not want to com­mit crimes again.

Those prisons are not, and should not, be com­fort­able, en­joy­able and some­where you want to be.

Which makes it more than a lit­tle alarm­ing that as we re­veal to­day, there is a move to make sure that these crim­i­nals are given the finest of food. Let us not for­get the peo­ple the gov­ern­ment wants bet­ter food for are the lowlifes that at­tack peo­ple in their homes, that kill, that maim and spread fear. They are en­e­mies of the state who it has now been de­cided, need to have five-star food.

As to­day’s Sun­day Her­ald Sun re­veals, the move to fine din­ing has been un­cov­ered in a ten­der doc­u­ment to pro­vide meals at the Parkville and Malms­bury jails.

One can just imag­ine, the prison guard ask­ing the vi­cious Apex gang mem­ber in­side — “the chicken or the lamb, sir.’’ As the doc­u­ment re­veals, for lunch a “young per­son can choose chicken or beef”. First-qual­ity lamb, beef and pork were min­i­mum re­quire­ments in the con­tract of­fer.

And cater­ers must make sure they pro­vide no more than 10 per cent fat in their mince meat.

“Beef — first-qual­ity ap­proved year­ling, not ex­ceed­ing 10 per cent fat. Minced meat to be at least 90 per cent pure muscle. All beef must be bone­less,” the ten­der doc­u­ment de­mands. So that means that the three-star mince sold at Coles would be off lim­its for our young crooks.

It is OK for the rest of us, but not those in­mates, kept in­side, at tax­pay­ers’ cost. They ap­par­ently de­serve bet­ter.

Only the four or five- star ver­sions would be good enough for them, ac­cord­ing to the ten­der re­quire­ments. One of the more shock­ing parts of the doc­u­ment is that pris­on­ers must get a va­ri­ety of food to “keep meals in­ter­est­ing”.

It goes on to say: “In­di­vid­ual menu items will not be re­peated weekly and menu items are not to be re­peated.”

Heaven for­bid, you had to eat the same meal. That’s not on. What an ab­so­lute joke. While most Vic­to­ri­ans are strug­gling to make ends meet with sky­rock­et­ing power prices, floods of wa­ter bills and ever in­creas­ing gas prices, our pris­on­ers, the ones who at­tack us, who de­stroy lives, are be­ing guar­an­teed a menu that is “in­ter­est­ing”.

We are not sure that the fam­i­lies of vic­tims would be so con­cerned about these scum­bags hav­ing an “in­ter­est­ing’’ menu.

No, as the fam­i­lies try to pick up their lives, they will be won­der­ing how to move on. They will be won­der­ing what is wrong with our so­ci­ety that it feels there is more con­cern for the rights of pris­on­ers than there is for the vic­tims.

We share those con­cerns be­cause on the ev­i­dence we have un­cov­ered to­day, it looks like the pris­oner and the qual­ity of life they have in jail is a ma­jor pri­or­ity for the gov­ern­ment.

Now we ex­pect that the bleed­ing hearts out there will be think­ing that mak­ing sure the pris­on­ers have great meals is im­por­tant for their chances of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

We ex­pect there will also be some who will ar­gue that if you give those in­mates bet­ter meals, they will be­have more.

Well — let’s not for­get one fact here: these peo­ple in jail are crim­i­nals and they are there to be pun­ished, not man­aged, not ca­joled, not in­dulged.

They broke the law and there­fore have for­feited all their rights.

Of course, this is not the first time we heard about largesse in the prison sys­tem. The Sun­day Her­ald Sun re­vealed in May the bizarre gold, sil­ver and bronze be­havioural sys­tem in place at our youth jails.

As we told Vic­to­ri­ans, the pris­on­ers are lit­er­ally bribed to be­have un­der this soft sys­tem, which rewards them with take­away pizza nights, vi­o­lent video games and can­teen cash.

And it must not be for­got­ten that this new “bribe to be­have” sys­tem came in af­ter the no­to­ri­ous $1 mil­lion riot at the Parkville prison.

Now we must ac­knowl­edge Premier Daniel An­drews did make an at­tempt to crack down on thug pris­on­ers, open­ing up a unit at the Bar­won Prison for the worst of the worst. Sadly, that plan was scut­tled when the Supreme Court ruled that it was un­law­ful.

To­day, though, the An­drews Gov­ern­ment has an­other op­por­tu­nity to send a mes­sage to our younger pris­on­ers. It can in­ter­vene and put an end to this ridicu­lous ten­der doc­u­ment we have ex­posed.

The An­drews Gov­ern­ment can show that it, like the rest of us, thinks this pedan­tic fo­cus on five-star crim­i­nal din­ing is an out­rage and a slap in the face to all Vic­to­ri­ans.

If there is no ac­tion at all, then we have ev­ery con­fi­dence that the pub­lic will draw their own con­clu­sions as to where the gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties lie.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.